For most Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) and Downtown Associations across the US and beyond, their mission is to economically, socially and culturally enhance local environments for all.

In today’s world, Business Improvement Districts require year-round engagement to continually enhance visitor experiences, encourage local spending and promote local events. With new technologies now available to create exciting experiences for all ages, how can they contribute to cost-effective engagement and more efficient service delivery?

In this blog, we’re going to discuss how organizations are using digital engagement to tackle some of these challenges and share some success stories too.

Let’s get straight into it…

Gathering high-quality public feedback

In this day and age, public organizations need to ensure that everyone within their community can voice their opinions when decisions are being made about their local surroundings. The best way for this to be achieved is to go digital. Technology allows Business Improvement Districts to gather public opinions at scale, at any given moment.



Southwest BID is just one of the many projects we’re working on to reach as many people within their community as possible. Let’s discuss how they’ve achieved this…

One example includes turning their shuttle services into interactive touch points. By opting for a digital approach, they’ve been able to acquire public feedback and gauge how satisfied commuters are with public transport, which helps to enhance their public services. From our conversations in the capital, we discovered that 75% of people didn’t know much about the local shuttle bus service before chatting with us. For Southwest BID, this feedback helps them to understand what information they should be sharing in the future with their community.

Improving business efficiency and service delivery

With so many different challenges and priorities for staff members to tackle each day, sometimes it might feel like the ‘to-do’ list is never-ending. Given the constraints of time, and in some instances, a small team responsible for serving the community, adding a digital layer to engagement can generate more time for staff to deal with other responsibilities.

“As a smaller organization (with three full-time staff), it’s challenging for us to do as much direct community outreach as we’d like.” For Michelle Valeri, Communications and Programme Director at Colfax Business Improvement District, Hello Lamp Post is acting as an extension of their team to maximize their engagement reach and alleviate staff resourcing challenges.



Whether it’s a person visiting for the first time, or a returnee, there will always be public queries to answer. Even though a team member can address these questions, it’s not the most feasible route for those who require a quick answer. By introducing a virtual assistant to Colfax’s Business Improvement District, questions like ‘What events are happening’ and ‘Where are Colfax’s live music venues’ can be instantly answered, meaning staff no longer have to answer the queries themselves.

While automating their public queries, we’re also paving the way for Colfax’s Business Improvement District to gather more valuable insight through public feedback. For a small organization, trying to understand every viewpoint within their community would be an extremely challenging task. We’re streamlining the feedback-gathering process by asking locals and visitors to share their opinions of the changes they’d like to see made in Colfax through the use of our platform. By altering the way feedback is collected, the Colfax Business Improvement District team are now gathering a wider spectrum of sentiment data more efficiently, which provides a more in-depth view of how their community feels, and what they desire.

Answering public queries in real-time

Whether it’s navigating a new city, or trying to find the best places to visit, public queries are always non-stop. It just isn’t feasible to have staff on-site 24/7 working to answer all those questions. By allowing visitors to easily self-serve their queries, you can eliminate the need for personalized assistance while providing a more seamless and efficient experience.

In the heart of Iowa City’s Downtown District, a variety of experiences, culinary delights and events await residents and visitors from afar. We’re working together to supply a wealth of information at the touch of a button, to allow effortless navigation of the local area and provide stress-free experiences.

Downtown Iowa Hero Image


Throughout Iowa’s 2022 and 2023 festive seasons, we’ve launched a handy query-answering tool that provides people with all the details about downtown’s offerings. Whether visitors want to get a recommendation for the best spots to dine in town, discover local businesses to buy Christmas gifts or just find out about when the holiday pop-up markets open, we’ve simplified their approach when handling public queries, so those important questions can instantly be answered by anyone who asks.

Increasing visitor dwell times

Dwell times are one of the primary indicators when determining if your district is best catered towards your communities and visitors’ interests. By developing new and exciting experiences, you can entice people into prolonging their stay and drive individuals towards visiting local attractions and supporting local businesses.

With 10 museums, five state parks and 53 miles worth of trails, Great Falls is known for being Montana’s base camp of rich art, culture and adventure. With so many exciting stories to share with the public, we worked alongside Visit Great Falls in their mission to present those stories to visitors through an interactive visual walking trail.

Throughout ArtsFest, visitors were taken on a unique journey around downtown to discover the origins of some of the city’s most famous public art murals. Each mural has a unique story to tell, offering people the chance to learn about Native American history and share personal thoughts about the downtown area. While embarking on the trail, we also encouraged people to find out about other historical landmarks and attractions to visit, as well as the city’s nightlife, so anyone could make the most of their trip to the area.



While murals came to life in Montana, inflatable rabbits took over Iowa’s Downtown District as part of the ‘Winter Night Light’ series. Working alongside Iowa City’s Downtown District and artist Amanda Parer, the touring ‘Intrude’ installation enabled visitors of all ages to chat with six enormous rabbits. Each bunny, with a distinct name, was able to interact in its very own unique conversation with visitors. Bertha, Helen, Buster, Hippie T. Hop, Charlie and Watt-son shared tales of their adventures across the world whilst asking questions about our relationship with the natural world, and how the local community are preserving the environment. During our time making the bunnies interactive, we were able to pull together feedback from visitors and share their positive experiences with Iowa’s Downtown District to help drive their next experience in the area.


From the challenges we’ve mentioned above, digital engagement has the potential to enhance all aspects of Business Improvement Districts and Downtown Associations. For residents, it’s an opportunity to freely express their opinions and concerns, which paves the way for more data-driven decisions to be made in planning processes. As for visitors, delivering new experiences and allowing for easy navigation can lead to increased dwell times and improved visitor satisfaction levels.

But, it’s not just about embracing digital methods to benefit your community, it’s also about providing a service that’s both effective and efficient. With digital assistants, staff workloads can be lightened and outreach can be elevated, which strengthens relationships and makes places better to live, work and play for all.

If you’d like to find out how we’re improving visitor experiences and overall outreach for business districts and other organizations, you can connect with our welcoming engagement team in the US via our contact form.